Defence of Donetsk airport: how it was
In March 2014, Russia seized Crimea and launched hostilities in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions. The Ukrainian military, as it was supposed to do, took under guard one of the strategic objects - Donetsk airport. The first enemy attacks took place in April and intensified in May. But during the summer there were no large-scale battles at DAP - only occasional firefights.
But in September, fierce battles began at the airport. And this was despite the Minsk agreements, which seemed to protect against such things. Ukrainian fighters held the old and new terminals. Through the village of Peski, the defenders were supplied with provisions and ammunition, reinforcements arrived, and artillery was stationed there. The AFU positions were shelled fifty times a day.
Russian attempts to storm the airport occurred regularly every few days during the autumn. To understand the situation, here is what we can learn, for example, from the memoirs of Colonel Trepak from the pseudo "Redut": on 1 October, after the battle, 7 enemy bodies were left in the corridors, we had not a single wounded; on 3 October, in the battle, three of ours suffocated from gas, three more died from gunshot wounds.
On 22 October, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally urged the Ukrainian military to leave the airport in Donetsk. In response, the Ukrainians raided with tanks on 27 October and destroyed a militant base near the airfield.
In early December, it was possible to rotate the cyborgs. The newcomers experienced decisive confrontations that began already from the first day of the new year 2015 (on 1 January there was a fierce multi-hour battle, but the Russians failed to break through to the airport).
On January 13, the control tower, which became a symbol of defence among the people, collapsed due to massive shelling. The occupiers took advantage of this and issued an ultimatum (one of many): leave or you will be destroyed. No one went anywhere, the Russians attacked - and were defeated again. More than 250 militants were killed that day.
On the night of 14 January, ours again managed to rotate, and already on the 16th there was apparently the largest battle - from 6 am to 2 am of the next day. On 17 January 2015, the cyborgs recaptured part of the territory from the militants.
On 19 January, the AFU General Staff stated that the situation at the airport was controlled by the defenders. But on the 19th and 20th of the same day, the Russians blew up the columns holding the DAP overlap. After the explosions, the enemies went on the offensive from all sides, the cyborgs heroically held their positions. Unfortunately, everything around was already destroyed, the defenders had almost nothing to hold on to - and on 21 January the ATO forces began to leave the DAP.
On 22 January, 17 captured Ukrainians were forced by the occupiers to march through the streets of Donetsk in a "parade". The aggressor's cynical actions were a flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions, but the Russians have traditionally sneered at any laws and morality. Nothing has changed since the 19th century, when Otto von Bismarck said that agreements with Russia are not worth the paper they are written on.
Who has defended the airport?
At different times the following fought in and around the airport: special forces of the 3rd separate regiment; soldiers of the 93rd and 72nd separate mechanised brigades; soldiers of the 79th, 80th, 81st and 95th separate airmobile brigades; soldiers of the 1st and 17th separate tank brigades and the 57th separate motorised infantry brigade; soldiers of the 90th separate airmobile and 74th separate reconnaissance battalion; soldiers of the Dnepr-1 regiment and volunteers.
As of today, we have very different information about the number of dead or even wounded. In this chaos, no one has kept documented counts. Most likely, we can trust the data from the National Military History Museum of Ukraine: approximately 100 Ukrainian military personnel were killed (of which almost 60 were killed in the last days of the defence fighting) and more than 300 were wounded. Of course, many cyborgs survived these events (unlike the 8 hundred Russians and pro-Russian militants).